• MJ Fievre

13 Ways to invite Positivity in 2021

It's as simple as this: by changing your environment you can invite positivity into your life.


"Whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free . . . your true self comes out." – Tina Turner


Without further ado, here are thirteen ways to positively change your environment so that you may embrace a fulfilling new year:


Choose the color blue. According to research at the University of Sussex in England, surrounding yourself with the color blue helps calms your mind and improve your mood and ability to concentrate. It increases the speed you can complete a task by up to 25 percent and increases your reaction time by 12 percent. It also improves physical performance. Even if you don’t live near the beach, or the sky is filled with clouds today, you can surround yourself with blue, which will increase your self-confidence and reduce your stress.


Listen to upbeat music. If you feel depressed and unmotivated despite the sun shining outside, listening to upbeat music could improve your mood, according to a survey conducted at the University of Missouri. I’m thinking about Pharrell Williams’s “Happy.” Without a doubt, it soothes my soul when I’m a little sad, tired, or lonely, and I feel in harmony with the world when I listen to it. If you can replace television with music for a while, especially in the morning, that will change everything. Upbeat music will help you concentrate when you need to or let off steam when you’re all wound up. It’ll relax you when you need it. Listen to upbeat songs that bring pleasant memories, and make you dance or sing.


Stop procrastinating. Do the laundry, take out the trash, and mail that envelope for Christ’s sakes! Make a to-do list, and avoid letting tasks accumulate. Otherwise, they’ll weight heavily in the back of your mind and spoil all your potential moments of peace and relaxation.


Tidy up. Happiness starts with a pleasant, tidy room. Really. Make your bed; it’ll only take a minute, and there’s something satisfying and relaxing about it. Also: Don’t leave any room empty-handed. Make your trip around the house productive and, when you walk into a room, grab your dirty laundry, put away a dirty mug, and recycle an empty bag. Living in a clean and tidy place brings peace and satisfaction.


Pamper your sense of smell. A pleasant aroma can lift your mood almost immediately (and the opposite is true too). Treat yourself with flowers or scented candles, or get into potpourri making.


Embrace nature. In the United States, a study has shown that walking for one hour among trees can improve memory and attention by 20 percent. In Toronto, researchers have discovered that a fifty-minute daily walk in the wild can treat depression. Outdoor walking strengthens muscles and increases the resistance of the immune system. The breathtaking landscapes, the sounds of nature, being away from the hustle and bustle…all these elements help to stimulate the brain and its creativity. Even if you live in the city, you can still connect with nature: breathe the fresh air; admire the leaves of a nearby tree; try gardening or buy some potted plants; walk barefoot; take a swim in the river or the ocean; sunbathe; hike and/or pick fruit, berries and wildflowers. In a world that goes faster and faster, it is essential to slow down, and you can do that by finding some peace in nature, which has its own slow-jam going on.


Meditate. Regular meditation increases your ability and capacity to feel joy on a daily basis. There is evidence that meditating for a few moments each day helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and therefore makes you happier. By rewiring your brain, meditation allows you to reconnect with yourself, to open yourself to positive things, and to take a step back. You can meditate in the morning to start the day in good mental shape, at lunch to recharge your batteries, or in the evening to get rid of accumulated tension. It’s all about finding the right moment. Find a convenient time and an appropriate environment, away from distractions and noise. Plan to wear comfortable and loose clothing.


Meditation on Benevolent Love

There is nothing like a meditation on benevolent love to learn to love oneself. The steps are as follows: Plan for at least fifteen minutes of calm. Sit comfortably with your back straight. Close your eyes, and start breathing for a few moments. Then, think about someone you love deeply, like a family member or a friend. Feel the love coursing through your veins. Let this feeling of love grow in you. Then extend it to yourself, and comfort yourself by saying: I have the right to be loved, I give myself love.


Minimalize. A recent study shows that the desire for material stuff—regardless of whether we acquire the stuff or not—leads to a drop in happiness by negatively affecting our self-esteem and costing us social relationships. James Roberts, director of the study and marketing professor at Baylor University in Texas, believes that happiness comes from strong relationships with others, and a commitment to our community through volunteer or charitable activities. Different studies confirm that altruism, volunteering, and service—in other words, contributing to the happiness of others— contribute to one’s own well-being. Some even conclude that people dedicated to a cause or community organization live longer. Giving money to charities or buying gifts for people you love is good for the soul.


Live in the moment. Most of us have some idea of when or how we will better enjoy life (“When I get this job!” Or “If I get married”), which actually prevents us from being happy, because we’re just putting off the joy we could be feeling right now. To think constantly that if we had acted differently in the past, we would be happier today is just as harmful. The past and the future are largely out of our reach. In order to enjoy yourself right now, stop paying too much attention to what was and what could be, and learn to take advantage of what’s all around you this minute.


Just like the past, the future may be a trap—a source of worry and fear. But sometimes, when things are depressing, a goal can help you move forward: “Okay, it’s not going well for now, but if I can get through this bad moment, I know that I can find happiness afterward.”


If you aren’t living the life you dream of, identify what you can improve, but don’t obsess about it. Some things are impossible to control, and there will always be a new problem or a difficult challenge. The best path forward is to believe that everything gets better. From a neuroscientific point of view, there are a host of studies that show keeping your focus on the present can change brain function in a positive way. The past belongs to the past, and often, it is nostalgia that robs us from our happiness. Yes, yesterday may have been much better than the present, and the future is very scary, but only today matters: the present is all you have, and Focus on the Positive | 165 you will never have anything else. After all, life is a journey, not a destination.


Practice gratitude. Rather than resenting people who have more money or better jobs than you or your family―which lowers self-esteem—try appreciating what you do have. Appreciative people are able to feel real joy when other people do well. Take time to congratulate a person for achieving a goal. When you’re having a hard day, think of one thing you’re proud you achieved, and feel the moment of happiness in your heart. Say “Thank you,” because, no matter your accomplishments, somebody helped you. Even when it gets rough, find a way to express your gratitude to others and to yourself.


Forgive. We can be very hard on ourselves, but taking responsibility for our actions doesn’t mean punishing ourselves. Forgive yourself. People who love themselves learn from their mistakes, accept that everyone makes them, and forgive themselves. It is important that you forgive yourself so that you can move forward. How? Remind yourself that you acted in the best possible way in light of the knowledge and level of wisdom you had at the time. Treat yourself kindly—with respect, patience, and gentleness. Also, stop blaming others for what you do not have or how you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving up your power and, instead, take responsibility for your life.


Stop complaining. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and thinking about the ways you’ve failed. Believe in yourself, and don’t believe everything your mind says to you, especially if those thoughts are negative or wear you out. Stop complaining about situations, things, and people you can’t change. Nobody or nothing can make you unhappy unless you allow it. It’s not the situation that triggers these feelings in you but how you see it. Also, avoid spending too much time with people who are constantly negative. There are many people like this, and even if you like these people, interacting with them may hurt you in the long run. Attitude is as contagious as the flu, so keep yourself protected from bad vibes. Be aware that they are negative, and see them from time to time because you enjoy them, but don’t let them rub off on you.


Accept change. Change is the only thing that will allow you to improve your life and the lives of those around you. Do not resist it.

-- A creator of safe spaces, and an initiator of difficult conversations, M.J. Fievre, B.S. Ed, spent much time building up her Black students, helping them feel comfortable in their skin, and affirming their identities. Her close relationships with parents and students led her to look more closely at how we can balance protecting our child’s innocence with preparing them for the realities of Black life. When―and how―do you approach racism with your children? How do you protect their physical and mental health while also preparing them for a country full of systemic racism? She began to research the issue and speak to school counselors and psychologists to find (and apply!) strategies parents and teachers can use with their children to broach uncomfortable but necessary topics.


M.J. is the author of Badass Black Girl, a daily dose of affirmations for Black Girls


“You'll come away from Badass Black Girl feeling as if you've known the author your entire life, and it's a rare feat for any writer.” ―“Mike, the Poet,” author of Dear Woman and The Boyfriend Book


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Affirmations for strong, fearless Black girls. Wisdom from Badass Black female trailblazers who accomplished remarkable things in literature, entertainment, education, STEM, business, military and government services, politics and law, activism, sports, spirituality, and more.

Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. In this journal designed for teenage Black girls, MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes. By reflecting on these topics, you will confront the issues that can hold you back from living your best life and discovering your Black girl bliss.


Embrace authenticity and celebrate who you are. Finding the courage to live as you are is not easy, so here’s a journal designed to help you nurture creativity, positive self-awareness and Black girl bliss. This journal honors the strength and spirit of Black girls.


Change the way you view the world. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek to inspire and ignite discussion. You are growing up in a world that tries to tell you how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages you to fight the flow and determine for yourself who you want to be.


Badass Black Girl helps you to:

  • Build and boost your self-esteem with powerful affirmations

  • Learn more about yourself through insightful journaling

  • Become comfortable and confident in your authentic self

© 2019 by MJ Fievre